Budget Reactions from Various Business Leaders | #13

Here we have more business leaders who have shared their reactions on the Budget 2022 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Business leaders across India and across industries are keen on sharing their thoughts on the 2022 budget presented on February 01, 2022. Thought Habitat is more than happy to recognize all their thoughts on the budget.

Anil Tyagi, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, Nuberg Engineering Ltd. 

The Finance Minister has presented a visionary expansionary budget and I will rate it as 9 on 10. The FM’s focus on India@100 is significantly focused on the goal of complementing macro-growth with micro-all-inclusive welfare, digital economy and FinTech, tech-enabled development, energy transition, and climate action.

The seven pillars on which the budget rests are well thought out. Of the seven, we at Nuberg EPC are excited about the focus on Energy Transition and Financing of investments. These combined with the earlier announcement focus on the USD 5 trillion economy that will create a huge number of opportunities for the country and for organizations in our industry.

I would also like to highlight the emphasis on a) public investment to modernize infrastructure over the medium term, leveraging the tech platform of Gati Shakti via a multi-modal approach, b) Self-reliant defence sector with 68% of capital procurement budget in defence to be earmarked for the domestic industry in 2022-23, c) Capital expenditure is being stepped up to Rs 7.5 lakh crore, and d) Blended fuel being encouraged with custom tariff on unblended fuel. Issue of Green Bonds is another excellent step, as it will enable the move of the hydrogen economy. I congratulate Prime Minister Modi and The Finance Minister for this excellent budget.

Gautam Seth, Joint Managing Director of HPL Electric & Power Ltd.

It is a growth oriented and forward looking Budget. The ambitious goal of 280 GW of installed solar capacity by 2030 has been set with an additional allocation of 19,500 crores for manufacturing solar PV modules, in the power and energy sector I believe the Budget 22 will increase the growth and will help in ramping up domestic capacity.

This is a highly sustainable and green energy choice. The government’s concern towards standardising the domestic manufacturing of electronic smart meters, wearable devices and hearable devices is a boon for India to become an electrical manufacturing hub. The proposal of surety bonds as a substitute for bank guarantee is highly welcomed.

Furthermore, Rs. 48,000 crores are allocated for 80 lakh houses to be completed both in rural and urban areas which is a huge step towards the upliftment of the society.

Abhishek Goel, CEO & Co-Founder, CACTUS

The pandemic has revealed a crisis in mental health, as well as the need for access to mental health professionals. The announcement of the National Tele Mental Health program will hopefully address a lot of these issues and provide people across the country with access to quality mental healthcare.

Gaurav Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Savaari Car Rentals

Hon’ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s proposal to augment the road infrastructure by 25,000 km under the PM Gati Shakti plan will ensure better connectivity to smaller towns and villages. With the radical shift in people’s travel choices post covid and the subsequent return of the road trips, investment in highway construction is surely an encouraging move and will provide key support to the travel and car rental companies in the upcoming years.

While the FM addressed the highway infrastructure, the budget failed to breathe any life into the industry currently on life support, without any concrete decisions in its favor. Still recovering from the deadly after-effects of multiple covid variants, the travel and tourism had huge expectations from the budget in terms of tax reliefs on the hospitality sector, GST reduction, tackling unemployment issues and the overall recovery of the industry by a sizeable increase in the budgetary allocation, all of which remain unaddressed. 

While the launch of e-passports is a welcoming move for international travel, it will do little to further the local tourism which is in a dire need of revival. The introduction of Vande Bharat trains and the new ropeways seem like an encouraging move for travelers, the impact of which will only be fully appreciable in the medium to long term, in the post-covid era. We appreciate the initiative of infrastructure and social development projects in the North-East region, which will directly spur domestic travel in the region.

Dr. Kishore Indukuri, Founder & MD, Sid’s Farm

We at Sid’s Farm welcome the initiatives for farmers in the Union Budget of 2022. As a boost to our vision of natural farming, the Government has announced promotion of chemical-free natural farming throughout the country. That the Government will launch a scheme of PPP mode with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agritech players and stakeholders of agri value chains, is also an encouraging step towards creating efficient building blocks and greater reach. All in all, a good budget for the agri sector.

Shubhankar Chaudhry, CEO, One Moto India

Almost all the auto giants in India have stepped into EV manufacturing further to the launch of e-mobility mission. In fact, a number of startups have also launched electric vehicles to leverage the shifting focus towards EVs over ICE. However, creating a balance between supply and adoption was the long stalling challenge for every player. Imagine, when the consumer is ready to buy an EV but gets hesitant due to the absence of charging infrastructure. This could not have been achieved without ample government support towards creating the right infrastructure, and fueling the adoption at consumers’ end. State governments have been launching policies and subsidies to accelerate the adoption at their end. 

Now with the Budget announcement of  battery swapping policy, and charging stations at a scale, there is hope that we will soon have a robust system to support the increasing adoption of EVs on road. 

As the Budget rightly mentioned, Make In India shall create 6 million New Jobs and all of us in the industry are dedicated towards accomplishing the same.

We welcome this move by the central govt to achieve the “panchamrit” vision of the Honble Prime minister.

Mridu Mahendra Das, Co-founder and CEO, Automovill

The Budget just refueled the ongoing initiative with the announcement of battery swapping policy, and charging stations setup plan. The battery swapping policy will enable adoption of battery as a service. This is also expected to reduce the running cost of the vehicle. With the increasing adoption of EV there is a need for simultaneous strengthening of the support infrastructure. Like new age auto tech -service startups are upskilling and reskilling  internally to support the maintenance end of it. As we have already launched India’s first learning management system for bridging the gap between skilled,semi-skilled workforce across the country in line with government vision.

However, any sort of mismatch in manufacturing and post sales requirements like charging infrastructure absence would have taken away the steam of the ultimate aim of eMobility mission. Not just auto manufacturers, even auto service players will benefit from this budget.

Kartik Sharma – Group Chief Executive Officer – India, Omnicom Media Group

With an impetus on holistic growth, developing infrastructure and job creation across sectors, the 2022 union budget shows promise with a focus on the big picture. 

Reviving economic growth in the post-pandemic environment has been a focus for this government and this progressive, digital-first, and development-oriented budget reflects that. Not only does it provide a boost to the MSME, agriculture and healthcare verticals, but also signals that investing in infrastructure today will connect India better tomorrow

With an increased focus on digitization, some of the standouts for me were that the budget recognized the current gaps and opportunities within the education sector, and is advancing towards uplifting India with the creation of a digital ecosystem – one that is focused on upskilling and creating more employment; aligned with the dynamic needs of today. It also aims to further strengthen communications in the rural sector and build upon the overall financialization of India. Furthermore, while the rollout of a 5G ecosystem will improve the quality of services, the launch of digital money, supported by blockchain, signals an increasing focus on transparency. 

With consistency in strategic direction and focus on propelling the MSME and start-up ecosystem, this is a welcoming budget for new-age businesses and a hopeful one that will ultimately lead to a boost in the A&M industry as well. We’re at the cusp of the next stage of India’s digital revolution and although certain factors like data privacy still remain an area to be delved deeper into, as infrastructure and banking penetrate further into rural India, we’re looking hopeful and strong to transform into a forward-leaning digital economy of tomorrow.

Dr. Lalitha Reddy – Vice President, Telemedicine Society of India

Riding along with the 3rd wave of Covid-19, we’ve all realized the dire need for significant investment in the country’s healthcare and pharma infrastructure. While developments like the vaccination program have immensely helped in battling the pandemic, there needs to be a greater, more immediate focus on the same.

2022’s budget has most welcomingly prioritized the digitalization of healthcare services (Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission), along with a greater focus on the mental health crisis (National Tele Mental Health Programme). ABDM aims at developing an open platform that will list “digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities”. Further, NTMHP will provide better access and affordability to quality mental health counselling, through a network of 23 tele-mental health centres backed by NIMHANS and IIT Bengaluru.

But even though there has been a greater push towards these vital avenues, the budget brought disappointment in aspects of other essential services like domestic manufacturing of medical devices. It is our “Swadeshi” manufacturing, after all, that constitutes a crucial cog in the wheels of self-reliance, as was pretty evident during the previous Covid-19 crises. The disappointment further ensued with lesser than anticipated, overall spending allocated to healthcare, which remains fundamental in infrastructural development of the same.

But whatever the case, it is at this point that both public and private entities across healthcare and pharma ought to gear up and bridge the gaps that hold us back, to facilitate our own growth while brushing shoulders with global healthcare systems. The Budget is just the first step towards our cumulative goals in establishing a Swastha and Swachha Bharat.

Shreyas Kudalkar – Managing Director at Kings Life Nidhi Ltd.

The budget for this year is a pleasant surprise, as it prepares India for the next stage of its long-term development. It is a logical continuation of last year’s budget. The enormous rise in capital spending is the budget’s main focus. It concentrates on areas that are just getting their feet wet in terms of development. This budget encourages India to embrace digital technology. There is a strong push for renewable energy incentives, as well as a greater focus on preventing infrastructure waste, in order to achieve a greener future.

The government’s goal of fostering corporate innovation through the development of a competent workforce for India’s youth is a fantastic undertaking. In addition, the budget has a strong emphasis on infrastructure and logistics, which is a solid step toward ensuring that the economy not only recovers but also grows steadily over time.

The recent relief for small businesses and startups is encouraging, and these, together with initiatives toward digitalization, will provide options for India’s young population. It focuses on personnel upskilling and allocating funds to invest in new technology. Considering the rise in the usage of online education during the pandemic, the concept of a digital university with over 200 channels in several regional languages under the “One Class, One TV Channel” has a lot of potential for making India smarter.

Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets in India

This year, the Union Budget has been one of recovery and stabilization from the impact of COVID-19. The Budget has taken some initiatives for MSMEs and India Inc for start-ups. The extension of ECLGS scheme is a welcome move for MSMEs. The tax concession period has been extended by one more year, which in my opinion is a very positive move. A tax rate of 15% has been decided for the newly incorporated manufacturing unit which will further boost manufacturing activities. Healthcare and infrastructure were the main highlights of Budget 2022 and immense investment has been allocated for the expansion of roadways and logistics networks. Introduction of ‘Digital Rupee’ using blockchain technology sends a strong message that India is at the forefront of technology implementation.

A digital currency issuance by the RBI will result in a structured approach with controlled regulation and bring in transparency to transactions enabling accounting of all money. The push on digitization will make way for more inclusion in the ecosystem. The focus on ‘Ease of doing business’ is a great step, as it will further promote entrepreneurship in the economy. India is to grow at 9.27%, the highest among all large economies. With a focus on contributing to the environment, chemical-free natural farming focusing on soil, biodiversity and human well-being is a welcome move.

The budget is growth-oriented with an impetus on capital expenditure to fuel economic growth and employment generation. SEZ Act to be replaced with the new legislation is a much-needed announcement. Introduction of the battery swapping policy and recognizing battery and energy as a service will help to develop charging infrastructure and increase the use of EVs in public transportation. This would motivate businesses to incorporate EVs into their fleet and create new avenues for companies to venture into the business of battery swapping.

The formation of a strong charging infrastructure alongside the highways across the country would promote the use of EVs for interstate travel. An additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore to boost manufacturing of solar modules under the government’s flagship PLI scheme has the potential to create 60 lakh new jobs, while producing 30 lakh crore jobs during next five years. International travel has been severely impacted during the pandemic.

We are pleased with the introduction of e-passports as it will provide a boost to the travel industry and add convenience. Extension of ECLGS scheme with an additional allocation for the hospitality sector is a positive move as it would help small and mid-size hotels overcome liquidity issues and pave way for growth.

Rohan Bhargava, Co-Founder, CashKaro & EarnKaro

We’re happy that this year’s budget has reaffirmed the government’s faith in business, and startups in particular as major drivers of the Indian economy. It’s a mark of confidence for India’s $46billion startup industry that the corporate surcharge has been reduced from 12% to 7%. This is a major game-changer that will enable companies to grow at a fast clip, make further investments and supercharge the route to the Indian economy’s $5 trillion target for 2025.

The major focus on investments in digital infrastructure such as the introduction of a blockchain-backed digital rupee, the inclusion of 5G and similar technologies in the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, digital platforms for skilling is also a big sign that the government believes that there can be no growth without technology.

The government’s proposal of setting up a task force for scaling up investments by venture capital and private equity, has contributed to 5.5 lakh crore investments in the last year alone. CashKaro being a digital-first business, we believe that tech-driven businesses like e-commerce companies, are the only way forward for agile growth and economic recovery, not to mention job-creation. We applaud measures such as the extension of the tax benefit scheme for startups until March 31, ’23, as it will assist young startups in meeting their working capital requirements, particularly during the critical early years of their operations.

We’re also reassured by the projected growth rate of 8-8.5%, despite uncertainty brought up about Covid-19 pandemic. The large mop-up of GST in the month of January – the highest since the introduction of the tax in 2017 – just shows that investments are on the right track. Combined with the extension of the ECLGS scheme for MSMEs, the government has made a clear statement that it believes in the ease of doing business in the country.

Dayapatra Nevatia, COO and President at Infogain

As expected, thanks to digital tech’s incredible support in helping India Inc. brave the pandemic, this year’s budget takes a ‘digital first’ stance. A significant focus on new initiatives and progressive policy interventions, such as opening defence R&D, promoting drone start-ups, digital university, giving data centres infra status will propel further adoption of technology across industries.

The budget highlights the Governments’ focus on digital inclusion, quite evident with the introduction of the Digital Rupee. This progressive move will give a big boost to India’s digital economy. This also reaffirms our vision and approach to leverage emerging technologies like blockchain to build future-ready solutions with our team at Nggawe Nirman Technologies (recent acquisition).

I believe digital literacy will be the key to realizing India’s 5 trillion-dollar economy dream. To create a digital ecosystem for skilling and focus on digital inclusion through 5G and investment in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and infrastructure, the government will continue strengthening the development of entrepreneurship, productivity, and quality of IT talent in the country, thereby scaling the adoption of new-age technologies across industries.

Vikas Bhasin, MD, SAYA Homes

The Union Budget 2022-23 is progressive, providing a broad-spectrum boost to the economy, particularly with its emphasis on improving the country’s infrastructure. The government has increased the Capex target by 35.4 percent, from INR 5.54 lakh crore to INR 7.50 lakh crore, potentially boosting overall spending for economic growth.

The budget also emphasises the importance of appropriate urban planning, while simultaneously providing some assistance to states and keeping the budgetary deficit in check. Another significant plus is that the government’s goal of creating 6 million new jobs over the next five years will allow residential real estate to expand across the country.

In a post-covid era, it’s a good budget since it hasn’t altered the tax system, leaving individual discretionary incomes unaffected and the government has continued on its stated path to job creation. However, a few pressing issues in the real estate sector remain unaddressed such as granting the sector industrial status and tax breaks on home loans to enhance buyer confidence.

Sigal Atzmon, Founder & CEO, Medix Global

With response to the current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Finance Minister has accorded special attention to the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission which is set to roll out this year. And in its ongoing endeavor to digitise healthcare, which is reflective in the launch and execution of platforms such as Aarogya Setu and CoWin, the government has put further emphasis on the need to make digitisation a central pillar for making healthcare accessible across the country in this Budget announcement as well.

Launch of new initiatives such as The National Digital Health Ecosystem and National Tele Mental Health Programme, further echo this sentiment. These are important steps and stakeholders from across the industry, need to collaborate and innovate in order to ensure a more sustainable and accessible healthcare ecosystem is provided to every person.

We are poised to support the Indian government’s vision and approach, which will help in building a stronger and healthier nation.

Balasundaram Athreya, Business Head, Manipal MedAce & Sr. VP, Manipal Global Education Services

Overall, this year’s budget appears to be forward-looking, building on ongoing efforts to aid in implementing the National Education Policy. The vision of Budget 2022 for the Education sector’s modern outlook and approach will open opportunities towards reinvigorating digital empowerment and paving a roadmap for India’s advancement. 

It is reassuring to see that the Digital University’s ‘hub and spoke’ model intends to deliver classes in all regional languages; it is a commendable step towards strengthening digital infrastructure and training and is key to achieving real progress in the education sector.

We have come a long way to ensure equal access to education for all. However, given the pandemic, we risk losing this momentum and progress. We applaud measures proposed in this year’s budget, such as the Digital DESH e-portal, Centers of Excellence that would assist in Urban Sector Development, and skilling programmes and collaborations, hoping to strengthen our education system.

Hitesh Windlas, Managing Director, Windlas Biotech

It’s heartening to see that the Budget 2022 recognizes and puts emphasis on the much-needed adoption of digital technology and telemedicine for achieving universal health coverage. It’s a visionary step that will play a significant role in how healthcare services are delivered in India.

For instance, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission could be a game changer for healthcare providers and indigenous drug manufacturers in bridging the urban-rural access divide in healthcare sector. Over 60% of the Indian population resides in rural areas hence this platform would be crucial for keeping a tab on digital registries of health providers, health facilities, unique health identity for easy, transparent and affordable healthcare for all.

Additionally, with 1.3 billion population, India’s ethnic diversity has a high burden of disease that are unique to the Indian subcontinent dwellers. Integrating healthcare services and its delivery with digital technology will go a long way in making Indian healthcare environment more resilient.

Aditya Vazirani, CEO, Robinsons Global Logistics

The Union Budget 2022 witnessed some of the biggest budget updates for the transportation and the logistics industry. The surge in stocks of different logistics organizations shows that the policies have been well acknowledged. The announcement shows the Government’s readiness to support things that would bring the economy on the right track. Development of Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals and the plan to additionally expand the highways network is what the sector needed after these few sluggish years.

Keep watching this space for more updates!

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